January 16, 2024
Pregnancy is a journey that brings about many changes in a woman's body, and while the anticipation of bringing new life into the world is exciting, some of the physical changes, like the appearance of spider veins (also known as thread veins), may cause concern for many expectant mothers.
Spider veins are tiny, dilated blood vessels that appear close to the surface of the skin, often resembling a spider's web and tend to occur more commonly in pregnant women. Many pregnant women wonder what actually causes these spider veins to appear, whether these veins disappear after pregnancy and what can be done to prevent them in the first place.
There are many changes that happen throughout a pregnancy that can contribute to spider vein development, predominantly to do with the hormone changes and the increased volume of blood that the body carries during a pregnancy.
Hormonal changes - Increased hormone levels, including progesterone, can weaken the vein walls, making them more susceptible to dilation which can cause spider veins to appear.
Increased blood volume - During pregnancy, the body produces more blood to supply nutrients and oxygen to the growing foetus. This increased blood volume can put additional pressure on blood vessels, which can make them more prone to dilation and therefore at risk of becoming thread veins.
Pressure on the uterus - As the uterus expands to make room for a growing baby, it may compress the blood vessels in the pelvic area, restricting blood flow and causing veins to dilate. The dilation of these veins could lead to spider veins appearing.
Genetics - A family history of spider veins or varicose veins can increase the likelihood of developing them or other vascular issues during pregnancy.
Spider veins can appear or be noticeable at any stage of pregnancy, but they are most likely to appear during the second and third trimesters as this is when the body goes through a significant amount of physical changes. As the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby, it puts increased pressure on the blood vessels in and around the pelvic region which can lead to poor circulation. This, coupled with hormonal changes including a rise in progesterone levels, can contribute to the development of spider veins usually in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
For many expectant mothers suffering with spider veins, wondering whether spider veins disappear after the pregnancy is a common question. The good news is that many spider veins tend to fade or even disappear after pregnancy, especially if they are not severe. As the body gradually returns to its pre-pregnancy state, the overall pressure on blood vessels decreases and hormonal levels stabilise. However, in some cases, spider veins may persist or become more prominent after pregnancy, which could require additional intervention.
It is advised not to have treatment to remove spider veins during pregnancy, however 6 months after childbirth is the usual amount of time to elapse before undergoing a thread vein treatment. At Dr Newmans Clinic, our doctors would be happy to carry out a consultation during your pregnancy to discuss any concerns and the treatment options available to you, but your treatment wouldn’t happen until after you’ve had your baby.
Thermocoagulation - Thermocoagulation works similarly to a microwave, destroying thread veins quickly and effectively without leaving scarring and pigmentation on the skin. At Dr Newmans Clinic we do not use laser surgery for any skin conditions.
Sclerotherapy - Injection Compression Sclerotherapy is a process where veins are injected with a saline solution. This solution causes swelling in the vein wall and destroys the vein over several weeks. At Dr Newmans Clinic we do not use laser surgery for any skin conditions.
Our specialist team will be able to advise on the best treatment option for you.
While complete prevention of spider veins in pregnancy may not be possible, there are steps pregnant women can take to minimise the risk of developing them, many of which are minor lifestyle changes:
Staying active - Regular exercise is great for promoting healthy circulation and helps prevent blood from pooling in the veins. Low-impact activities like walking and swimming are particularly beneficial during pregnancy, and can help to keep veins healthy.
Elevating legs where possible - Elevating your legs when possible, especially after long periods of sitting or standing, can alleviate pressure on the veins and improve blood flow, which ultimately reduces the chances of vein walls dilating.
Wear compression socks - Compression stockings provide support to the veins, helping to reduce swelling and discomfort. Consult with us if you think you could benefit from the use of compression stockings, and we will be able to provide advice.
Avoiding excessive weight gain - While weight gain is a natural part of pregnancy, excessive weight gain can put additional stress on blood vessels and vein walls.
While spider veins may be an unwelcome side effect of pregnancy, the good news is that they often go away on their own, especially after childbirth. Understanding the causes and taking preventive measures can help minimise the risk of developing spider veins throughout your pregnancy and can promote overall vascular health throughout.
If you continue to be concerned about your thread veins, or if any cause you any discomfort, get in touch with us for personalised advice and treatment options which may be available to you. Remember, taking care of your body during pregnancy is not only beneficial for your well-being but also contributes to a healthier postpartum recovery.
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